Boris confirms 'most' British military have left Afghanistan ALREADY

The flag comes down: Boris Johnson confirms ‘most’ British military personnel have left Afghanistan ALREADY as he pledges that the UK will not ‘turn away’ from the country’s plight

Boris Johnson revealed today that ‘most’ British service personnel have already left Afghanistan after a military presence of 20 years.

In a statement to Parliament he vowed that the withdrawal did not mean that the UK would ‘turn away’ from the country’s precarious position.

He admitted ‘there could never be a perfect moment’ to pull out all troops after a conflict that saw more than 450 service personnel lose their lives.  

But the UK’s hand was forced by the United States’ decision to withdraw its much larger force by September. 

Mr Johnson told the Commons that he could not comment on the exact timing of the withdrawal, but added: ‘Most of our personnel have already left’.

He added: ‘I hope that no-one will leap to the false conclusion that the withdrawal of our forces somehow means the end of Britain’s commitment to Afghanistan.

‘We are not about to turn away, nor are we under any illusions about the perils of today’s situation and what may lie ahead. 

In a statement to Parliament he vowed that the withdrawal did not mean that the UK would ‘turn away’ from the country’s precarious position.

Soldiers from the Royal Regiment of Scotland marked the drawn down of Operation TORAL last month with a flag lowering ceremony in Kabul (pictured)

Mr Johnson told the Commons that he could not comment on the exact timing of the withdrawal, but added: ‘Most of our personnel have already left’. 

US slipped out of Bagram base in the night without telling Afghans they were off

The U.S. left Afghanistan’s Bagram Airfield after nearly 20 years by shutting off the electricity and slipping away in the night without notifying the base’s new Afghan commander, who discovered the Americans’ departure the next day, Afghan military officials said. 

‘We (heard) some rumor that the Americans had left Bagram … and finally by seven o’clock in the morning, we understood that it was confirmed that they had already left Bagram,’ Gen. Mir Asadullah Kohistani, Bagram’s new commander said.

U.S. military spokesman Col. Sonny Leggett did not address the specific complaints of many Afghan soldiers who inherited the abandoned airfield, instead referring to a statement last week.

The statement said the handover of the many bases had been in the process soon after President Joe Biden’s mid-April announcement that America was withdrawing the last of its forces. Leggett said in the statement that they had coordinated their departures with Afghanistan’s leaders.

Before the Afghan army could take control of the airfield about an hour’s drive from the Afghan capital Kabul, it was invaded by a small army of looters, who ransacked barrack after barrack and rummaged through giant storage tents before being evicted, according to Afghan military officials.

‘At first we thought maybe they were Taliban,’ said Abdul Raouf, a soldier of 10 years. He said the the U.S. called from the Kabul airport and said ‘we are here at the airport in Kabul.’

Kohistani insisted the Afghan National Security and Defense Force could hold on to the heavily fortified base despite a string of Taliban wins on the battlefield. The airfield also includes a prison with about 5,000 prisoners, many of them allegedly Taliban.

‘We always knew that supporting Afghanistan would be a generational undertaking and we were equally clear that the instruments in our hands would change over time.

‘Now we shall use every diplomatic and humanitarian lever to support Afghanistan’s development and stability.’

Asked by Labour’s Angela Rayner if he believes the threat to the UK from the country had been reduced, he replied;’ ‘yes I do.’

Since 2001, 457 members of the UK Armed Forces have lost their lives in Afghanistan, and more than 150,000 UK personnel have served in the country.

It comes after the US withdrew from Afghanistan last week by slipping away in the night without telling the base’s new Afghan commander who discovered they had gone the next morning. 

The Taliban on Wednesday launched their first assault on a provincial capital in Afghanistan, since waging a major offensive against government forces, local officials said. 

Fierce fighting has erupted in the western city of Qala-i-Naw, the capital of Badghis, after the militants captured all the surrounding districts of the province.

‘The enemy has entered the city, all the districts have fallen. The fighting has started inside the city,’ Badghis governor Hessamuddin Shams told reporters in a text message. He was later seen taking up arms to defend the city, a BBC Persia journalist reported.  

Footage posted online appeared to show Taliban fighters entering the city on motorbikes, several holding guns, with residents lining the streets to welcome them.  

Other videos allegedly showed Taliban emptying the province’s Qala-e-Naw prison. 

Afghan troops were filmed laying down their arms to the Taliban days after the US departure. 

Soldiers have also deserted in droves, with more than 20,000 fleeing over the border to Tajikistan. 

Jihadists were also able to seize the border crossing with Tajikistan – a site worth millions of dollars a year – on Wednesday, after Afghan soldiers abandoned their posts. 

The American-built Sher Khan Bandar bridge usually takes upwards of $5million a year in customs, money which the Taliban will now collect. 

Mr Johnson told the Commons: ‘No-one should doubt the gains of the last 20 years, but nor can we shrink from the hard reality of the situation today.

‘The international military presence in Afghanistan was never intended to be permanent.

‘We and our NATO allies were always going to withdraw our forces: the only question was when – and there could never be a perfect moment.’  

The Taliban have seized more than 900 guns from surrendering Afghan soldiers in the hinterland surrounding Kabul as they continue their resurgence in the wake the US and Nato retreat.

The jihadists have been posting videos online showing how they are happy to welcome their former adversaries as long as they lay down their arms.

The propaganda appears to be working.

A Sky News report showed the Taliban proudly displaying US-made guns along with stacks of brand new ammunition and grenades still unopened in their boxes.

The commander, based in Wardak province west of Kabul, told the broadcaster his men had retrieved 70 sniper rifles, 900 guns, 30 Humvees, 20 army pickups and 15 articulated military trucks.

They also had satellite phones, grenades, mortars, bullets, many with labels on the front saying ‘Property of USA Government’.

They have captured Sultan Khil military base, a key strategic site in the region formerly held by Afghan troops.

A box of rockets which the Taliban seized from the Afghan National Army

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